To describe today's news of the Felix Culpa breaking up as "sad" doesn't really do the feelings I have any sort of justice. I don't properly know how to explain how much this band, and Sever Your Roots specifically, meant to me. It was a little under two years ago that I found myself with the desire to do something more in music besides just write about it; I had kicked around the name "Youth Conspiracy Records" in my head for a while but really had no idea how or where to start. Then, in December 2009, Marky sent me their new record. I honestly, legitimately was flabbergasted. I always knew the Culpa were good; I had no idea they could be that good. And then it hit me: "I have to put this out on vinyl."
Flash forward barely a month, and we somehow managed to have Sever Your Roots in all its vinyl glory ready for the band's album-release show on Jan. 23, 2010, at the Metro in Chicago. (Sidenote: An enormous debt of gratitude goes out to Vince, Matt and the whole Gotta Groove Records crew who busted their humps to turn around 500 double LPs in under a month and over a major holiday, and even hand-delivered them to me on Jan. 22, the day before the show.) I spent the afternoon of the 23rd with the band, their friends and my girlfriend, watching Bio Dome on VHS and stuffing LP sleeve after LP sleeve. I'll never forget the excitement from the guys when they opened the first box we brought in (which conveniently happened to be the clear/black swirl vinyl). I felt so proud, like I had achieved something.
Every time I saw the Culpa, I was always left in awe. They truly were one of the best live bands I have ever had the pleasure of witnessing, from Joel's incredibly complex and melodic drumming to Tristan's unique bass tone and style, to Dustin's adept multi-instrumentalist chops to Marky's unbelievably intense, cathartic vocal performances. In all the times I've seen this band, never once did I see them phone it in. Amazingly, this energy and passion was just as present on Sever Your Roots, something many lesser bands lose in translation to the recorded medium. It is truly an honor to know that I had an extremely small hand in helping spread the gospel of the Felix Culpa, and I wish each member the best in their future endeavors (and openly invite you to come to me with whatever any of you do next, as I'll most likely put it out, no questions asked).
It's funny; today, the same day that the Felix Culpa announced their breakup, I picked up the test pressings for the new Weatherbox 12-inch we're putting out in October. As I sit here currently listening to these Follow The Rattle Of The Afghan Guitar tests, I can't help but realize that there is no chance I would be doing this had it not been for the Felix Culpa believing in me as much as I believed in them.
PS: Not to turn this whole thing into some shilling pitch, but Sever Your Roots is still available in the YCR webstore; however, we have very few copies left and it's sort of a forgone conclusion that this record will not be repressed. So if you want it, now's the time to get it.
"so come on, come on baby
jump in, jump in with me
we'll swim or maybe we'll go down
but at least we'll be together in the end" --The Felix Culpa, "Apologies"